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Russia agrees to OSCE monitors in Donbas bearing firearms

At the same time, Lavrov says a massive OSCE police mission would contradict the Minsk agreements.

Russia agrees to OSCE monitors in Donbas bearing firearms
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OSCE monitors in Donbas working on the contact line in Donbas can have personal firearms, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"We are ready for an increase in the number of monitors on the frontline and in warehouses, making this presence around the clock and enabling the monitors to bear private firearms," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying at a joint with the OSCE Chairman Sebastian Kurtz press conference on 19 January.

The minister rejected the idea promoted by Ukraine of an armed police mission in Donbas.

"If an armed OSCE mission is in reference to the idea, promoted by Kyiv, about the need to deploy armed police mission in Donbas, which would ensure the rule of law there, then this idea is absolutely contrary to the Minsk agreements," Lavrov said.

According to Lavrov, Minsk Agreements stipulate that Ukraine should give some areas of Donbas the power to have own police forces.

"No armed foreign missions are needed to maintain order in Donbas," the minister said.

Last fall, Ukraine has asked the OSCE to deploy armed posts on the border with the Russian Federation, after that, the militants threatened to Ukraine a "full-scale war in which the West will be drawn into."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia agreed with the proposal of Ukraine to deploy an OSCE police mission, but only along the contact line, as opposed to the border of Ukraine with Russia.

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